Ani Stafford-Townsend, co-chair of Green Party Women in England and Wales, sent a “late” motion to the party’s conference, proposing that members who sign the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, by the Women’s Declaration International (WDI) be suspended or even expelled from the party. The motion is said to have been presented for the upcoming Green Party Spring Conference, set to happen on March 4-6 2022.
The motion states:
“The Green Party accepts that the ‘Gender Critical’ movements in most UK political parties have been infiltrated by hard-line extremists, who advocate for the wholesale removal of virtually all trans rights as currently enshrined in the Equality Act 2010, and routinely share platforms with those who advocate for extremist positions such as the mass sterilization of trans people. These extremists have also been linked with attacks on women’s abortion rights, misinformation designed to provoke hatred towards trans people, and have benefited from funding from the far-right.”
The move by the Green Party caused several reactions online, especially after two Green Party members have already been targeted for openly expressing “gender critical beliefs.” Emma Bateman, co-chair of the women’s committee, was suspended for being a signatory of the WDI declaration, and Green Party spokesperson on policing and domestic violence, Shahrar Ali, was removed from his position.
Shahrar Ali spoke about the “chilling effect” of such a motion on his twitter account, setting the reasons why he opposes it. Among them, he argued that signatories may “disagree with highly negative interpretation” about the content of the declaration. Approving this motion, he explained, would seek to control freedom of expression and “police thoughts.” Ali called the motion “authoritarian” and “Orwellian.”
The Women's Declaration International, formerly The Women’s Human Rights Campaign, was created by British women in 2019. It published its Declaration onf Women’s Sex .Based Rights shortly afterwards, authored by legal academic Maureen O’Hara, Dr Sheilla Jeffreys and Dr. Heather Brunkskell Evans. In a statement posted on their website, WDI refutes accusations of the declaration being “anti-trans.” It says that the motion “misrepresents WDI and the Declaration” and makes a” range of unfounded claims and associations” which are presented without evidence.
The claims made in the Green Party motion are further refuted by WDI: “Believing that women have rights based on their sex that are vital to achieving equality is not a ‘hard-line’ or ‘extremist’ position.” The organization asks the Green Party to uphold the rights of their members to “freedom of thought and expression,” and wrote that they are “grateful for the support of all Green Party members who have signed the Declaration.
WDI stated for 4W.Pub: ’We know that women’s rights are becoming a major policy issue for voters all over the UK. Politicians from all parties have started to speak up against the placing of men in women’s prisons and hospital wards, the destruction of women’s sports, the harm done to children and the other damaging consequences of gender ideology. The time for the authoritarian suppression of debate, the abuse of those holding lawful ‘gender critical’ views and the threats of ‘cancellation’ or expulsion is over. We note that the Green Party is committed to upholding rights of women and girls afforded by the Equality Act, and maintains the rights of members to freedom of thought and conscience. We therefore urge the Green Party to confirm that party members are free to support the sex-based rights of women and girls."
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